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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 917085, 15 pages
Review Article

The Pleiotropic Effect of Physical Exercise on Mitochondrial Dynamics in Aging Skeletal Muscle

1Department of Biomolecular Sciences, Division of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Via A. Saffi 2, 61029 Urbino, Italy
2Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Tor Vergata, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome, Italy

Received 12 December 2014; Accepted 18 February 2015

Academic Editor: Maria Monsalve

Copyright © 2015 Elena Barbieri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Decline in human muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia) is one of the principal hallmarks of the aging process. Regular physical exercise and training programs are certain powerful stimuli to attenuate the physiological skeletal muscle alterations occurring during aging and contribute to promote health and well-being. Although the series of events that led to these muscle adaptations are poorly understood, the mechanisms that regulate these processes involve the “quality” of skeletal muscle mitochondria. Aerobic/endurance exercise helps to maintain and improve cardiovascular fitness and respiratory function, whereas strength/resistance-exercise programs increase muscle strength, power development, and function. Due to the different effect of both exercises in improving mitochondrial content and quality, in terms of biogenesis, dynamics, turnover, and genotype, combined physical activity programs should be individually prescribed to maximize the antiaging effects of exercise.